Arahants

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Arahants

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:13 am

The verifying of an arahant is a great quest to me. It will inspire myself more on the spiritual path as it clears up my doubt of the goal.

Sometimes i felt quite frustrating that not even 1 arahant can be verified among so many generations of practitioners. By referring to the suttas a sotapanna have 7 more life time to end up enlightened while sakadagami will make one last human return to complete the path, in this case the world should have plenty of arahants right now like how caterpillars naturally morphing into butterflies. But unfortunately it turns out the other way.
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Re: Arahants

Postby cooran » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:25 am

Hello all,

This is worth reading and thinking about - whether you agree or disagree.
Arahants still exist?
http://www.abhidhamma.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=65

With metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Arahants

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:39 am

Arahants. Judging from what we have seen of god-men in Hinduism and some (certainly not all or even a majority of) gurus and masters in other schools of Buddhism, it is probably just as well that arahants remain unknown.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Arahants

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:13 am

kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Spot on Tilt. A side from being able to pick said ariyans brains for how to get there oneself, what good does it do you to know whether someone's an arahant or not. You've still got to do the work yourself. There's no short cuts in Dhamma.

What good does it do to proclaim that someone is not an arahant, has wrong view, and is a liar, as you have done?


I don't recall calling anyone a liar - I think you're putting words in my mouth there and I don't think that's very nice of you. But clearly the gloves are off in your instance. ;)

Do you think we should just avoid critical analysis of people's declarations of supernormal attainments? Because (I'm sure you're aware) there's a big difference between being critical of a crystal clear declaration in print that Monk-X is an arahant, and being critical of people who speculate that so and so might or might not be an arahant.

If someone makes the statement: X is an arahant. And we believe the evidence suggests otherwise, do we not have a duty to proclaim that we believe this is untrue? Is it not in everyone's interests to be aware that such a person is at the very least overestimating their teacher, that they gained their material for the book from stories told to them from other monks, from many sources, some 2nd and 3rd hand. Does it not stand to reason that accounts were embellished through the monk-vine?

People deserve to be informed, to have as much knowledge at hand when they make decisions. People might make all sorts of decisions from reading a positive account of a teacher. I certainly know that several years ago a factor in my decision to go to Sri Lanka was made based on the fact that so many of those on a certain retreat I attended felt that the teacher was an ariyan, and I agreed with them.

So what we can draw from my example is that people are willing to go out of their way to learn under those whom they believe to be enlightened.
If you have a good argument otherwise, people should know so they can make the best decisions possible for their meditation and progress in the Dhamma. :)

You have read the book I suppose?There's more magic and flowery goings on in that book than the most elaborate of Mahayana sutras, personally I know that that's not what the Buddha's teaching is concerned with. It's concerned with dukkha and it's cessation.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Arahants

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:18 am

BlackBird wrote:I don't recall calling anyone a liar - I think you're putting words in my mouth there and I don't think that's very nice of you. But clearly the gloves are off in your instance. ;)

Not nice? You certainly did say that Ajahn Boowa wrote an "embellished and frankly fictitious account." In order to knowingly present such a thing as a biography, that would require lying.
If someone makes the statement: X is an arahant. And we believe the evidence suggests otherwise, do we not have a duty to proclaim that we believe this is untrue?

No, where did you get the idea that it was anyone's "duty"? Even if someone did feel that it was their "duty" to proclaim that so-and-so is not an arahant, would they be so incautious in their assessment as you? I don't think so. You speak as if it was beyond the range of possibility that Ajahn Boowa was an arahant. How did you manage to become such a confident assessor of others attainments? And from a distance, no less. From reading a book.

At least in the case of Ajahn Brahm re: Ajahn Chah - the evidence given which Retro felt compelled to call "stupid" - that was personal exposure to the man. Not armchair analysis from another country on the internet.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Arahants

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:38 am

Ladies and Gentlemen, please step back from the brink.
Let's keep discussion amicable.
Thanks for your cooperation.
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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Arahants

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:51 am

Ben wrote:Ladies and Gentlemen, please step back from the brink.
Let's keep discussion amicable.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Ben

Yes indeed, that should be the case. I do not consider it "amicable" to make feckless statements about some of the most widely esteemed bhikkhus of modern times.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Arahants

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:12 pm

Ben wrote:Ladies and Gentlemen, please step back from the brink.
Let's keep discussion amicable.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Ben


Hi Ben.

No animosity from me.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Arahants

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:20 pm

kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I don't recall calling anyone a liar - I think you're putting words in my mouth there and I don't think that's very nice of you. But clearly the gloves are off in your instance. ;)

Not nice? You certainly did say that Ajahn Boowa wrote an "embellished and frankly fictitious account." In order to knowingly present such a thing as a biography, that would require lying.
If someone makes the statement: X is an arahant. And we believe the evidence suggests otherwise, do we not have a duty to proclaim that we believe this is untrue?

No, where did you get the idea that it was anyone's "duty"? Even if someone did feel that it was their "duty" to proclaim that so-and-so is not an arahant, would they be so incautious in their assessment as you? I don't think so. You speak as if it was beyond the range of possibility that Ajahn Boowa was an arahant. How did you manage to become such a confident assessor of others attainments? And from a distance, no less. From reading a book.

At least in the case of Ajahn Brahm re: Ajahn Chah - the evidence given which Retro felt compelled to call "stupid" - that was personal exposure to the man. Not armchair analysis from another country on the internet.


I got the idea quite easily, but I am not holding onto any view to any degree of strength, so if you can show me how Venerable Boowa's teachings are not eternalistic, I would be happy to retract my statement.

There is clear eternalism presented with in the text, that much is very clear - and eternalism has been rejected by the Buddha as a wrong view. Since you have ignored the very clear question as to whether you have read the book, I am under the impression you have not. I am also under this impression as you refuse to present a reasoned and logical counter argument and resort instead to what we see above.

It would seem to me, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but it would seem to me that my statements have angered you, or at least provoked you to a rather unpleasant frame of mine, and my apologies for having done so. I don't wish to put anyone in a bad mood. But it is a fact of life that people will have opinions that differ to your own Kirk. :)

You put me in a difficult spot because I have no interest in attempting to disprove your assertion that I am an arm chair critic from another country on the internet. Absolutely no good could come from taking your 'bait' as it were.

But back to the topic at hand it's safe to say, the text itself is quite divorced in parts from the Dhamma the Buddha taught, there's is little more to be said about the subject, and at risk of provoking you to further unpleasantries, I will end this conversation here.

Well wishes
metta
Jack
Last edited by BlackBird on Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Arahants

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:26 pm

BlackBird wrote:

There is clear eternalism presented with in the text, and since you have ignored the very clear question as to whether you have read the book, I am under the impression you have not, as you refuse to present a reasoned and logical counter argument, and resort instead to what we see above.

You put me in a difficult spot because I have no interest in attempting to disprove your assertion that I am an arm chair critic from another country on the internet.

But it's safe to say, the text itself is quite divorced from the Dhamma the Buddha taught, there's is little more to be said about the subject, and at risk of provoking you to further unpleasantries, I will end this conversation here.

Well wishes
metta
Jack

I have not yet read the entirety of the book in question, but I am familiar with it. Regarding your last argument:
People deserve to be informed, to have as much knowledge at hand when they make decisions. People might make all sorts of decisions from reading a positive account of a teacher. I certainly know that several years ago a factor in my decision to go to Sri Lanka was made based on the fact that so many of those on a certain retreat I attended felt that the teacher was an ariyan, and I agreed with them.

So what we can draw from my example is that people are willing to go out of their way to learn under those whom they believe to be enlightened.

That's a rather weighty responsibility you're apparently taken up. Do you consider it at all possible that your assessment could be wrong? For in that case, and going by your own reasoning, should someone turn away from the teachings of someone who actually was enlightened, based upon your words - have you done that person any favors?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Arahants

Postby Rasko » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:30 pm

Ajahn Jayasaro gives some comments about enlightenment/arahants/Boowa from Thai Forest point of view in this video:


What I remember from listening to some translations of Ajahn Maha Boowa's talks to bhikkhus, they were more about sati-pañña than samadhi or jhanas. Samadhi was used to "sharpen the knife of pañña" or something like that.
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Re: Arahants

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:41 pm

So you haven't read the book Kirk, and yet you're prepared to sit here and suggest, in essence that I am slandering a great master, a master of whose doctrine you have scant knowledge of it would seem, considering your inability to produce anything other than accusations.

I have stated more than once that I find Venerable Maha Boowa's teachings to be eternalistic, and because eternalism is stated by the Buddha to be a wrong view, it's not my cup of tea. Having said that, I think Venerable Maha Boowa was a very acomplished monk, who obviously had a great understanding and personal experience of Jhana. But as to his descriptions of other monks attainments of arahantship, they are dubious at best, and if at some point - You actually were to read the book, I imagine you may share my doubts.

Look, I met a monk in Sri Lanka who to me clearly seemded to possess the ability to read my mind. The incidents were far too uncanny. I'm not one to suggest that these things don't exist, so having read the book, I didn't look upon every appearance of devas or magical happening to be exaggeration, but when it got down to the meat of things, there were many aspects of the doctrine that just did not stack up with the Buddhas teachings, neither did the section where he gains enlightenment and all the magic happens once again, the prophetic dreams all that jazz. It's just not how it happens.

You ask me if I consider my assessment might be wrong. Well, my suggestion is that you go read the book, and then ask yourself if the opinion you form from reading it might be wrong, because I'm fairly certain that it will impart doubts in you.

There was a time several years ago when I believed in the book, and all it's stories. My view has since matured, in ways that make me feel more or less certain when it comes to the subject of eternalism and annihilationism, and which teachings give off their rather unique scent.



Case closed for now, all the best Kirk and absolutely no hard feelings from me :)

Metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Arahants

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:55 pm

BlackBird wrote:So you haven't read the book Kirk, and yet you're prepared to sit here and suggest, in essence that I am slandering a great master, a master of whose doctrine you have scant knowledge of it would seem, considering your inability to produce anything other than accusations.

I have stated more than once that I find Venerable Maha Boowa's teachings to be eternalistic, and because eternalism is stated by the Buddha to be a wrong view, it's not my cup of tea. Having said that, I think Venerable Maha Boowa was a very acomplished monk, who obviously had a great understanding and personal experience of Jhana. But as to his descriptions of other monks attainments of arahantship, they are dubious at best, and if at some point - You actually were to read the book, I imagine you may share my doubts.

Case closed for now, all the best Kirk and absolutely no hard feelings from me :)

Metta
Jack

I have not read the entirety of that particular book, as I said, but I am quite familiar with Ajahn Boowa's recorded teachings, of which I have read a decent amount, more than enough to be reasonably well-versed in Ajahn Boowa's perspective, certainly enough to far exceed your accusation of "scant knowledge."

All you are doing is proclaiming that Ajahn Boowa's teachings are eternalistic. You have not presented anything in particular which you are claiming is such. And yet you are asking me to prove they are not eternalistic. So instead, I would suggest that you produce the teaching from Ajahn Boowa which you are claiming is "eternalism."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Arahants

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:58 pm

kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:So you haven't read the book Kirk, and yet you're prepared to sit here and suggest, in essence that I am slandering a great master, a master of whose doctrine you have scant knowledge of it would seem, considering your inability to produce anything other than accusations.

I have stated more than once that I find Venerable Maha Boowa's teachings to be eternalistic, and because eternalism is stated by the Buddha to be a wrong view, it's not my cup of tea. Having said that, I think Venerable Maha Boowa was a very acomplished monk, who obviously had a great understanding and personal experience of Jhana. But as to his descriptions of other monks attainments of arahantship, they are dubious at best, and if at some point - You actually were to read the book, I imagine you may share my doubts.

Case closed for now, all the best Kirk and absolutely no hard feelings from me :)

Metta
Jack

I have not read the entirety of that particular book, as I said, but I am quite familiar with Ajahn Boowa's recorded teachings, of which I have read a decent amount, more than enough to be reasonably well-versed in Ajahn Boowa's perspective, certainly enough to far exceed your accusation of "scant knowledge."

All you are doing is proclaiming that Ajahn Boowa's teachings are eternalistic. You have not presented anything in particular which you are claiming is such. And yet you are asking me to prove they are not eternalistic. So instead, I would suggest that you produce the teaching from Ajahn Boowa which you are claiming is "eternalism."


I gave the whole book as my evidence, but you haven't read it.

So I will reiterate that I think you should read it, and then we shall see whether there is still a disagreement between us, I am of an optimistic nature. :)

They are taking their deep meditation to be nibbana and it's a mistake.


That is all.
metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Arahants

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:49 pm

BlackBird wrote:They are taking their deep meditation to be nibbana and it's a mistake.

If the above is meant to be a summary of what Ven. Sujato is communicating in that video, I think it does not represent what he is saying at all.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Arahants

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:02 pm

kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:They are taking their deep meditation to be nibbana and it's a mistake.

If the above is meant to be a summary of what Ven. Sujato is communicating in that video, I think it does not represent what he is saying at all.


With all the care and concern I give to grammar, do you not think I would have added a colon in such an instance? I rather think this is an instance of wishful thinking on your behalf.

I posted the video because It gives a decent summary of some of the doctrinal problems I have with Venerable Maha Boowa's teachings, teachings I feel are in clear contradiction with that of the Buddha. But as is becoming somewhat of a theme here, you have chosen to address something quite tangential to the topic at hand.

I will be interested to know if your view changes upon reading the book, please inform me should you decide to read it :)
Now I really must be off to bed, so good night.

with metta and good will
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Arahants

Postby floating_abu » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:it is probably just as well that arahants remain unknown.


Agreed, hiding seems a much better proposition IMO.
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Re: Arahants

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:17 pm

BlackBird wrote:With all the care and concern I give to grammar, do you not think I would have added a colon in such an instance? I rather think this is an instance of wishful thinking on your behalf.

I posted the video because It gives a decent summary of some of the doctrinal problems I have with Venerable Maha Boowa's teachings, teachings I feel are in clear contradiction with that of the Buddha. But as is becoming somewhat of a theme here, you have chosen to address something quite tangential to the topic at hand.

Except there is the section where Ven. Sujato acknowledges the possibility that there is some samadhi associated with enlightenment, that can be accessed by an arahant, known by those who have "ended the defilements" that is being referred to with the "original mind" notion. In which case, those would be actual arahants, and it would neither be a "mistake" nor a "doctrinal problem."
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Arahants

Postby Viscid » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:08 pm

Blackbird wrote:Look, I met a monk in Sri Lanka who to me clearly seemded to possess the ability to read my mind. The incidents were far too uncanny.

It's a shame how impossible it is to talk about these sorts of abilities without the discussion degrading into nonsense. I'd really like to know the full story behind this incident, and how you think one comes to possess such an ability, how/why it works, etc.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Arahants

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:47 pm

I see the biography of Ajahn Mun has been re-translated by Bhikkhu Dick Sïlaratano the version I have is translated by Siri Buddhasukh. I wonder if the feel is very different? The new translation has an introduction that is worth a read (if interested). It gives some background and context.

http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/english/pdf/Acariya_Mun__A_Spiritual_Biography.pdf
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